Rays Outburst Tamed By Wind, Bullpen Falters Late
The Tampa Bay Rays lost their series finale to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon in a windy affair. The loss drops the Rays back to three games under .500 at 57-60 and they fall 6.5-games behind the streaking Kansas City Royals who won their seventh contest in a row.
Alex Cobb was solid allowing just one run on six hits over six innings striking out six and walking none. His effort was matched by the Cubs Travis Wood who allowed one run (unearned) on four hits while striking out five and walking three.
The Rays regained a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh on Desmond Jennings double that scored Brandon Guyer. In the final box score the Rays offense appears to have struggled putting up just two runs on eight hits in 12-innings but the top of the seventh inning could have been big if not for a robust wind coming off the shores of Lake Michigan.
All during the day the Rays sent numerous fly balls deep into the outfield only to fall safely into the confines of the Cubs outfielders glove, but in the seventh inning the magnitude of the blasts can not be understated. First Evan Longoria sent a rocket to centerfield that got caught in the wind and was tracked down by Arismendy Alcantara.
Sean Rodriguez followed Longoria with a ball that may have gone 420 feet on a day with no wind but once again the ball hit a wall of air and fell harmlessly into the glove of left fielder Chris Coghlan
This meant turning the ball over to the much maligned Grant Balfour who gave up a 2-out double and RBI triple to Chris Coghlan as the Cubs tied the game. Kirby Yates came in and recorded the last out of the seventh.
Joel Peralta worked a scoreless eighth and Brad Boxberger worked two scoreless innings striking out five. Cesar Ramos (2-4, 3,93 ERA) came in and allowed the game winning hit by Anthony Rizzo that scored Ryan Sweeney. The win goes to Carlos Villanueva (5-6, 5.11 ERA) who worked a scoreless top of the 12th for the Cubs.
The Rays move on to Texas for a four game series which begins tonight at 8:05 p.m. Drew Smyly (6-10, 3.98 ERA) takes the mound for his second start for the Rays and he will be opposed by Colby Lewis (8-8, 5.50 ERA).